UIA World Congress Reveals Architecture’s Other Side

’s designs for an office building in Hyderabad exemplify the social agenda of architecture which dominated discussions at this year’s UIA World Congress. Image © Carlos Chen

With the International Union of Architects (UIA)’s World Congress taking place last month, the eyes of the architecture world were on South Africa where – according to Phineas Harper of the Architectural Review - the conference was full of architects of all backgrounds with “irrepressible energy,” sharing ideas on how architecture can be used for social good with an urgency that is somewhat unfamiliar in the Western world. ”Whoever said architecture was stale, male and pale should have been in ,” says Harper. You can read the full review of the event here.

Harper’s review also singles out the “electrifying” keynote speech of Rahul Mehrotra, who explained how he used his architecture to bridge social and cultural gaps while still serving his clients’ needs, in projects such as his Hyderabad offices. You can see him discuss these ideas in our interview with Mehrotra here:

AD Interviews: Rahul Mehrotra / RMA Architects

The Proliferation of “Cultural Genocide” in Areas of Conflict

Umayyad Mosque, Old City of Aleppo, Syria (2013).

In an article for the London Evening Standard, Robert Bevan examines one of the many often overlooked consequences of conflict: the destruction of monuments, culture, and heritage. With heightened conflict in the Middle East over the past decade an enormous amount of “ genocide” has occurred – something which Bevan notes is “inextricably linked to human genocide and ethnic cleansing.” Arguing that “saving historic treasures and saving lives are not mutually exclusive activities,” case studies from across the world are employed to make the point that with the loss of heritage, most commonly architectural, the long term ramifications will resonate throughout this century.

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This Whimsical Cage Redefines Public Space

Courtesy of

Folly is a word not often used in architecture. By definition, ‘folly’ is a lack of good sense, or foolishness. And in the realm of architecture, folly is used to describe an extravagantly ornamented structure with no practical purpose. Yet gathering their inspiration from this word, Warren Techentin Architecture (WTARCH) have created and mounted a functional folly, appropriately named La Cage aux Folles (The Cage of Follies). Constructed of painted, steel tubes and installed at Materials & Applications, an centre in Los Angeles, La Cage aux Folles played host to an array of musical performances and lectures. 

Explore La Cage aux Folles with more photos and info after the break. 

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9 Endangered Monuments to Receive Funding for Conservation Works

The Güell Pavilions in Barcelona, Spain. Image Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig

From Gaudí-designed pavilions in Barcelona, Spain to the Tenyuji Temple in Ogatsu, Japan, nine “at-risk” historical monuments will receive funding for preservation works, thanks to a $1.5 million grant from American Express to the World Monuments Fund (WMF). The nine sites were all included on WMF’s 2014 Watch list, and include Pokfulam Village in Hong Kong (SAR), China; the churches of Saint Merri and Notre-Dame-de-Lorette in Paris, France; the Farnese Aviaries in Rome, Italy; Tenyuji Temple, in Ogatsu, Japan; Fundidora Park in Monterrey, Mexico; the Güell Pavilions in Barcelona, Spain; the House of Wonders in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania; Battersea Power Station in London, United Kingdom; and Sulgrave Manor in Sulgrave, United Kingdom.

This is the second portion of a $5 million, five-year grant from American Express to support WMF. “The longstanding support of American Express to the World Monuments Watch has resulted in preservation work at more than 150 sites in over 60 countries,” said WMF President Bonnie Burnham in a press release. “The sites on the 2014 Watch that will receive support are extraordinary places whose preservation will benefit both local populations and visitors from around the world.”

Read on after the break for a description of the sites.

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UNESCO: Friend or Foe?

Right now Istanbul epitomizes the debate in question, with would-be developers taking on preservationists. Do new developments threaten Istanbul’s world-class heritage, or does heritage protection restrict important new development? Image © Flickr CC User Jules Gervais

Earlier this week, two articles on Domus engaged each other in a debate over the affect of UNESCO World Heritage status on the cities they supposedly protect. Is UNESCO turning the world’s cities into museums and hindering their future cultural development? Or could it be a positive force for protecting architecture and culture? Read on after the break to learn more about these clashing opinions.

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3XN Designs Affordable Housing Tower in Denmark

Courtesy of 3XN

The influx of students in Aarhus, Denmark is causing the city to rapidly expand. In response to the growing need for affordable housing close to the local university, 3XN teamed up with developer Jens Richard Pedersen to design a residential high-rise near the institution. The future tower has been dubbed La Tour as an ode to the building that currently occupies the site, Hotel La Tour.

Newly released renders and model photographs depict the tower as a sweeping semi-circular form that rises in steps. The gradual elevation of the building will start at the street, defining the transition from the surrounding small-scale buildings to the urban high-rise typology. For more information and images, read on after the break.

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Number of Women Architects on the Rise in the UK

© Robert Venturi

The number of women becoming architects in the is increasing, according to the latest figures by the ’s Architects Registration Board (ARB). Now, 7,538 female architects are registered with the ARB, up nearly 74% from just 10 years ago, the Architects’ Journal (AJ) reports. Yet despite the overall increase, women still only make up 22% of the profession, and represented just 38% of the new registrants in 2013.

Read on after the break for comments from female architects…

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The 6th Annual Architecture & Design Film Festival Returns to New York City

"Who Dares Wins: Zaha Hadid". Image Courtesy of Architecture & Design Film Festival

The 6th Annual Architecture and Design Film Festival is set to return to New York City on October 15th for five days of premieres and showings. With a special themed focus on Women in Architecture, the US’s largest architecture-related film festival will present over twenty five feature-length and short films in a programme curated by Kyle Bergman and . Designed to provide “rare glimpses and intimate portrayals of seminal figures and growing movements in the fields of architecture, design, urbanism and fashion,” this year’s festival will also feature a 3D film series exploring six iconic structures from filmmakers such as and Robert Redford.

Explore the highlights and find out more about the festival after the break.

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Apple Awarded Patent for Flagship Store Design

© Flickr CC User Mathieu Thouvenin

The US Patent and Trademark Office have awarded a patent to Apple for the design of their flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York, reports MacRumors. The patent, applied for by in 2012, applies to the above-ground glass cube, which was originally designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and – after a renovation in 2011 – is made of just 15 glass panels with minimal steel fixings. More on the patent after the break.

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Move Over, Green Walls: Living Canopy Comes to West Vancouver

Courtesy of

Imagine walking beneath an illuminated canopy of lush greenery, in the form of inverted pyramids sculpted to perfection. In early August 2014 visitors were welcomed by this succulent living roof to the Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver, British Columbia. Guests were guided through the fairgrounds beneath the 90-foot long canopy, creating an immersive sensory experience befitting the interdisciplinary creative arts festival. Designed by Matthew Soules Architecture and curated by the Museum of West VancouverVermilion Sands was created as a temporary installation for the ten day festival.

Submerge yourself in Vermilion Sands with photos and more info after the break.

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The Rockefeller Foundation Kicks Off its 100 Resilient Cities Challenge

OMA’s proposed Hoboken Waterfront for the “Rebuild by Design” competition, which focused on resilience, sustainability and livability. Image Courtesy of OMA

The Rockefeller Foundation has kicked off its 2014 100 Resilient Cities Challenge, which aims to help “build resilience to the social, economic, and physical challenges that cities face in an increasingly urbanized world.” Each of the 100 cities selected will receive funding to hire a Chief Resilience Officer and assistance in developing and implementing a resilience strategy.

“We can’t predict the next disruption or catastrophe. But we can control how we respond to these challenges. We can adapt to the shocks and stresses of our world and transform them into opportunities for growth,” the 100 Resilient Cities’ site reads. While shocks include events like earthquakes, fires and floods, stresses include high unemployment, inefficient public transportation, endemic violence or chronic food and water shortages. The Challenge aims to help cities be better prepared for these adverse events and better able to deliver basic services in both good and bad times to all members of the population.

Learn more about the Challenge after the break…

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Google Launches New Virtual Experience that Takes You Inside Alvar Aalto’s Works

Courtesy of Alvar Aalto Foundation

The Alvar Aalto Foundation has begun a collaborative project with Google to make Aalto buildings even more accessible to the public. Using ’s revolutionary Street View navigation tool, along with its virtual Institute, the project offers a look inside some of Aalto’s most iconic works of architecture. Learn more about this initiative and see the virtual journey for yourself after the break.

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Mecanoo Begins Work on Vast Cultural Centre in Shenzhen

Courtesy of Mecanoo / Christopher Malheiros Architectural Visualization

Dutch based practice Mecanoo, nominated for this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize for the Library of Birmingham, have begun work on vast cultural centre in Shenzhen marking their first project to break ground on Chinese soil. Comprising of a large public art gallery, a science museum, a youth centre, and a book mall, the 95,000 square metre development will strengthen Longgang District’s identity by “providing citizens and visitors with a renewed sense of place.” Forming a dynamic link between the high-rise of the city’s commercial district and the open spaces of Longcheng Park, the four sculpted forms emerge from the ground to create a series of arches and sheltered spaces to facilitate public events.

See the full set of images and an illustrative film after the break.

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Preserving Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hemicycle Spring House

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The Spring House, also known as the Clifton and George Lewis II House, is the only private house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that was ever built in Florida. The design embodies the final and shortest stylistic phase in Wright’s career – the hemicycle style. The plan is characterized by concentric and intersecting circles, while the elevations are consistent with Wright’s other designs in how they accentuate the horizontal.

After the death of her husband in 1996, Clifton Lewis formed the Spring House Institute, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the historic property and turning it into a public legacy. In order to restore and complete the house (some elements were never built, including a semi-circular pool on one of the terraces), the organization needs to raise $256,250, which will then be matched by the Division of Historical Resources to pay the $512,500 purchase price. To meet the Division of Historical Resources’ October 15th deadline, they have launched an IndieGoGo campaign with a target of $100,000. For more on the historical landmark and the organization’s fundraising efforts, keep reading after the break.

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BIG Designs Rejected Again for Kimball Art Center

Revised design for the . Image Courtesy of

After producing major revisions on a previously rejected design, BIG have had their second design rejected for the Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah. City Hall rejected the design on the basis of appearance, arguing that it did not relate to the historic city centre “aesthetically, visually or historically.” The second design by BIG marked a complete departure from the original that was selected as the winner of an architectural contest hosted by the Kimball Art Center.

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IE School of Architecture and Design’s SPACES FOR INNOVATION Prize

New models are emerging, redefining how we work, shop and learn in different environments that impact our everyday lives. IE SPACES FOR INNOVATION Prize is a challenge for young architects and designers worldwide that are able to foresee how work, retail and learning environments will evolve in the next decade.

If you’re interested in being a part of the challenge, there’s still time. The registration period is open until October 27, and proposals are to be presented in a digital story board (A1 horizontal format- PDF or JPG; < 10megas). Registrations should be made individually.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Admittance to Master in Design for Work, Retail and Learning Environments  from IE School of Architecture & Design, for the 2015-2016 academic year.
  • 30% scholarship over the tuition fees
  • Full-time paid professional internships in top tier companies and design firms such as UNStudio, Arup or O+A Studio.

For more detailed information, visit the Competition website.

IE School of Architecture & Design focuses on training skills in design, innovation and management, expanding the boundaries of traditional architectural education. IE welcomes students who seek challenges and aspire to become leaders in the dynamic world of architecture and design. The IE community is comprised of 47,000+ graduates that represent more than 90 countries worldwide.

OMA’s Taipei Performing Arts Center (TPAC) Tops Out

Courtesy of OMA; Photography by Philippe Ruault

OMA‘s Taipei Performing Arts Center (TPAC) has topped out in a ceremony including Taipei’s mayor Hau Lung-pin, and OMA’s Partners in charge of the project, Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten. Even in its current skeletal state, the rigidly geometric form is clearly expressed with it’s central cube supporting three protruding auditoriums, two cubic and one spherical. The design of the TPAC is in many ways experimental, incorporating a looped public path which shows off the building’s backstage areas, and flexible auditoriums which can even be combined, offering extraordinary stage spaces that allow performances which would be impossible in any other .

Ahead of the topping out ceremony we spoke to partner in charge , who explained the building’s design concepts and the challenges (or rather, surprising lack of challenges) in the construction, and told us “you will only understand it when you have seen it. It’s super exciting, we encourage everybody that loves architecture to come and see it because it’s spectacular.”

Read on after the break for the full interview

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Heatherwick Exhibitions Set to Tour US and Asia

Heatherwick Studio’s 2010 Shanghai Expo pavilion. Image © Daniele Mattioli

Thomas Heatherwick is set to expand his international reputation in the coming year, thanks to two exhibitions that will tour the United States and East Asia, reports the Architects’ Journal. The US exhibition, titled “Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio” will tour Dallas, LA and New York from September 2014 to October 2015. The Asia exhibit is yet to be formally announced, although it is believed it will begin in Singapore in Spring 2015. Read on after the break for more details of the exhibitions.

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